It has been quite awhile since I have made it to Providence in time to go to afternoon mass at St. Stephens.
The hassle factor is high: I have to try and convince my husband to come home early from work, then fight traffic on Rt. 10 and downtown Providence for a half an hour. Meander around the block a few times looking for parking. Avoid hitting dazed Brown students who never, it seems, were taught to look both ways before crossing a street.
Then, on a beautiful, warm, sunny day, enter into a dark church that smells of old incense and waxed floors. Sit in creaky wooden chairs. Kneel on hard vinyl cushions. Say words from an old Anglican prayerbook. (Thees and thous and holpen. Meet and right so to do.) Listen to a brief homily about a Saint I never heard of.
There am I, approaching the rail. Getting on my knees in front of a priest I don't know that well. Taking the wafer into my hands and lifting it to my mouth. Feeling the cold rim of a silver cup on my lips. The warmth of the red wine making it's way down. The rest of the service is almost a blur. Driving home. More traffic. More wayward students.
But also sunset. Quiet when I get home. The kids are at soccer. I sit under a huge spruce tree and watch the sun begin to set behind the bank of newly leafed silver maples. Listen to the riot of birds
and realize that I have never,
in my life